2023 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl Date Set
We are very excited to announce that the 2023 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl game will take place on January 28 and will continue its tradition of being played at the legendary Rose Bowl Stadium in Pasadena, CA. The NFLPA looks forward to once again showcasing some of the best up-and-coming college football talent in the world. Stay tuned for more details about the 11th version of our game.
For updates on the event, exciting features, and other content, make sure to follow @NFLPABowl on Twitter and Instagram!
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NFLPA Collegiate Bowl Alumni Spotlight: Week 3
Each week, we examine some of the top performers from the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl alumni. With approximately 250 active players on NFL rosters and/or practice squads, the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl has become one of the premiere all-star game events in just a short period of time. Below are some of the latest standouts from week three action.
The New Orleans Saints found an undrafted free agent gem following the 2020 NFL Draft in wideout Marquez Callaway, who led the team with 698 receiving yards in 2021. After a busy offseason, which featured several new targets added to the roster, along with quarterback Jameis Winston taking over as full-time starter, Callaway was a bit slow out of the gates this season. So, it was no surprise to see him finally make his mark during week three, as he registered his first catch and touchdown of the season during the Saints loss to the Carolina Panthers. Look for Callaway to get more involved in the offense once again, as the season progresses.
In a divisional primetime matchup against the New York Giants on Monday Night Football, undrafted free agent tight end Peyton Hendershot made sure to let his name be known amongst the Dallas Cowboys passing attack. The lengthy, athletic pass-catcher caught all three of his targets, including a big play 29-yard reception and finished with 43 yards on the evening. We saw Hendershot flash the ability to make splash plays during his week of practice during the 2022 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, which is a good reason to believe that we will be hearing more from the Indiana product in the near future.
Last week, we highlighted Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Arthur Maulet in the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl Alumni Spotlight. We go back to the tenacious Steelers defense once again this week, to feature fellow linebacker Jamir Jones. After appearing in games for three different teams in 2021, the New York native seems to have finally found a home in Pittsburgh, as a valuable reserve. He collected a handful of tackles during their Thursday Night Football loss to the Cleveland Browns. However, the future is bright for Jones and his development in year two!
The Miami Dolphins are one of the final undefeated teams remaining in the NFL and while the offense has received well-deserved accolades, the defense has also been rock-solid. A seven-year veteran, linebacker Elandon Roberts made several big stops against the Buffalo Bills, recording a season-high eight tackles, while bringing his yearly total to 17 tackles through the first three games. Roberts is currently on pace to surpass his career-high of 83 tackles, which he set last season.
After starting a handful of games down the stretch in 2021 as a rookie for the Minnesota Vikings, safety Cam Bynum has emerged as the full-time starter this year playing alongside Harrison Smith. In fact, he has played 100% of the defensive snaps thus far, in addition to contributing on special teams. This past week, Bynum recorded at least five tackles for the third consecutive game, as the Vikings mounted a fourth-quarter comeback victory over their division-rival Detroit Lions. A fourth-round pick, Bynum appears to be one of the true value selections (125th overall) of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Chicago Bears kicker Cairo Santos played a key role during their 23-20 victory over the Houston Texans, nailing all three of his field goal attempts, including a 50-yarder to put the Bears in a tie for first place. The eight-year veteran has had a stellar pro career and set new Bears records for consecutive field goals both overall and in a single season (27) in 2020, breaking the old record of 26 straight (Robbie Gould). He continues to be Chicago’s secret weapon.
Make sure to check out the Week One and Week Two Alumni Spotlights too.
*For the latest news and updates surrounding the 2023 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl be sure to follow @NFLPABowl.
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2023 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl Week 4 Scouting Report – Michigan vs Maryland
In a B1G Conference showdown in Ann Arbor between unbeatens Michigan and Maryland on Saturday, a competitive, back-and-forth game took place that ultimately finished in a Wolverine 34-27 victory. With both teams fielding a plethora of NFL prospects, NFLPA Bowl scouts had to be selective in choosing three players who stood out for their individual performances.
Michigan wide receiver Ronnie Bell is off to a fast start this year – currently on pace to set a season-best 51 receptions and 3 touchdowns – and added another strong performance Saturday versus Maryland. Although he didn’t catch one of his three receptions in the game until the third quarter, Bell was all over the field while aligning at X, Z, and in the Slot; clearing out underneath routes with his speed and explosiveness; and doing the dirty work of blocking, including helping to spring a game-changing fourth-down touchdown run late in the second quarter by blocking out the corner. Saving his best for last, Bell got behind the cover-3 corner in the fourth quarter and sprinted down the right sideline showcasing his speed and hauled in a 49-yard explosive play. A year now removed from a knee injury suffered in Week 1 last year, the fifth-year senior from Kansas City, Missouri is putting on tape quality play to boost his prospects for the NFL.
Though he’d primarily played Special Teams in his Michigan career, linebacker Michael Barrett is making the most of his opportunities as a starting inside linebacker this year. Standing at 5-11, 225 pounds, Barrett isn’t the biggest defender on the field, but what he may lack in stature he makes up for in explosiveness and leverage. Against Maryland on Saturday, the 5th-year senior from Valdosta, Georgia made his presence felt, officially recording six tackles in the contest while seemingly being involved in many more plays than the box score indicates. One of the most impressive plays of his for the day involved taking on the climbing offensive guard who outweighs Barrett by 100 pounds, striking the blocker with his hands under his pads, knocking the blocker to the ground, and allowing Barrett to get in on the tackle. With his penchant for making plays on defense along with his experience and athleticism for special teams, Barrett owns a resume that NFL teams take notice of.
Maryland has very quietly fielded one of the most explosive offenses in the country with playmakers in every position room on that side of the ball. Against a talented Wolverine secondary, first-year Terrapin wide receiver Jacob Copeland continued an impressive start to his senior season, tying his season-best four receptions for 52 yards on Saturday. Though not gawdy numbers, the former Florida Gator numerous times demonstrated excellent body control and route running savvy while creating separation from DBs. At 6-0, 202 pounds, and near 31.5” arm length, Copeland has the size, length, and explosiveness to translate his offensive and special teams game to Sundays.
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2023 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl Week 4 Scouting Report – Colorado State vs Sacramento State
On a beautiful afternoon in Fort Collins, Colorado, the Colorado State Rams hosted FCS opponent the Sacramento State Hornets in a game that quickly began to rain on the Aggie Day parade. In what ultimately became a 41-10 Sac State triumph, a handful of senior performers shined in this mostly one-sided affair.
For the victorious hornets, linebacker Marte Mapu consistently heard his name called over the loudspeaker as the Hawthorne, California native seemingly was in on every play, finishing second on the team with seven tackles and a sack on the day. Playing the “Will” linebacker position, Mapu demonstrated routinely his instincts and athleticism while dissecting plays and finishing to the football. On his second-quarter sack, the sixth-year senior showed impressive burst to close on the scrambling quarterback, helping to end the Colorado State drive.
For the Rams, a couple of senior linebackers made the most of their opportunities, including Dequan Jackson who paced the team with 13 tackles in the contest. Fellow linebacker projection, Mohamed Kamara, plays defensive end this season for Colorado State but will likely transition to outside linebacker at the next level. The 6-1, 240-pound senior routinely has been productive this season, both working outside and inside pass rush moves while influencing opposing quarterbacks. Though Saturday’s game against the Hornets was his first this season not recording a sack, Kamara’s presence was felt as he still found ways to hurry Sac State’s passer.
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2023 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl Week 4 Scouting Report – Air Force vs Nevada
Attending a game at a service academy is an unforgettable experience that scouts cherish. The pageantry and tradition that make college football so great is amplified at the academies and Friday night in Colorado Springs at the Air Force Academy was no exception. On a perfect evening for football against fellow Mountain West foe Nevada, the Falcons ran wild to the tune of a whopping 461 yards while limiting the Wolfpack to 160 yards through the air in their 48-20 win that never seemed that close.
Although most service academy student-athletes go on to serve our country rather than pursue professional sports, there were a handful of Falcons who stood out to NFLPA Bowl scouts as well as a very productive Nevada rusher.
With an option-style offense that clearly is quite productive, Air Force seldom throws the football, having attempted only three passes on Friday night. The lone completion in the contest, however, went to senior wide receiver David Cormier who caught the ball in stride and then showcased his speed while racing 80 yards to the endzone for a big second-quarter touchdown. Cormier – who has already matched last season’s receiving yards total through four games – is a big-bodied receiver known for his blocking prowess and ability to climb the ladder to bring down contested passes. Standing at nearly 6-3, 226 pounds and with near 34” arms, the fifth-year senior from Albuquerque, New Mexico possesses NFL size and length but not necessarily the production in the passing game that talent evaluators covet, making the few opportunities he does receive even more important. Creating explosive plays as he did on Friday night is a great way for Cormier to demonstrate his capabilities, and with a rivalry game versus Navy next on deck he’ll have another great opportunity to maximize his prospects.
On defense for Air Force, linebacker Vince Sanford’s statistics don’t pop off the official box score but watching the game on Friday night the Nevada quarterback and scouts in attendance felt a different vibe. NFLPA bowl scouts noticed the Hamilton, Ohio native last year while evaluating eventual Collegiate Bowl participant Jordan Jackson as Sanford burst onto the scene in 2021 with a whopping 9.5 sacks. While opponents are sure to have a weekly plan versus the Falcons’ best pass rusher, Sanford showed numerous times against Nevada the ability to work his technique around the edge and hurry the quarterback. With his 6-1, 224-pound frame, Sanford projects to a stacked linebacker position at the next level, but the ability to affect opposing passers is always sought by NFL teams and is a good way for a young player to see the field.
Senior running back Toa Taua could have left Nevada for the NFL after last season, but the fifth-year starter opted to return and has been a bright spot for the Wolfpack offense all season. Standing just over 5-8 and 215 pounds, the compact rusher from California is a load for defenses to bring down, carrying the rock with a low center of gravity and running behind his pads to consistently fall forward. With 73 yards on only 7 rushes against Air Force and another 17 yards receiving, Taua led Nevada in scrimmage yards and scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns.
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NFLPA Collegiate Bowl Week 2: NFL Alumni Spotlight
With approximately 250 alumni across the league on any given Sunday, the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl has established itself as a mainstay on the all-star circuit and is a critical part of the NFL Draft process. The 11thAnnual NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, featuring the next generation of NFL prospects, will be held in January of 2023. Below are some of the notable players who performed well during week two of the NFL season.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers went into their week two matchup against the New Orleans Saints minus wide receivers Chris Godwin and Julio Jones due to injury. So when fellow wideout Mike Evans was ejected during the game, it was time for Russell Gage to step up. The five-year veteran came through in the clutch and kept the chains moving as Tom Brady found him on five occasions for 28 yards during the Bucs victory.
One of the more fascinating player development stories in the NFL has been Denver Broncos wide receiver, Kendall Hinton. The former Wake Forest quarterback demonstrated his ability to switch positions during the 2020 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl practice week. Hinton made huge strides last season, collecting 15 catches in 16 games for 175 receiving yards and also returned kicks. Suddenly, he is now one of the big play threats for Russell Wilson on the Broncos’ offense, which he showcased on Sunday, making a big 20-yard grab. Keep a lookout for this connection!
Dallas Cowboys rookie Sam Williams (chosen 56th overall in the second round) is the highest-ever drafted NFLPA Collegiate Bowl alumni and he has already begun to flash his pass-rush prowess. While his stats may not reflect his impact, the explosive Cowboys linebacker applied pressure in the backfield on several occasions, while making a key tackle for loss during their win over the Cincinnati Bengals.
After a stellar week one performance, which included a forced fumble, Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Arthur Maulet played a contributing factor once again in week two. The six-year veteran racked up a pair of tackles against the New England Patriots, bringing his season total to five—he recorded a career-high 45 tackles in 2021 and has been a dependable backup for the Steelers.
The journey of linebacker Jordan Kunaszyk has been one of perseverance. Coming out of California, Kunaszyk went undrafted in 2017, largely in part due to an injury he endured during his senior season. He was signed by the Cleveland Browns after a training camp tryout but was eventually released. However, the Browns would re-sign him to the practice squad and elevate him to the active roster for the second consecutive week. Kunaszyk has now appeared in 28 games, across four seasons with three various teams (Carolina Panthers and Washington Commanders).
A Detroit native, San Francisco 49ers fifth-round draft pick Samuel Womack has made his presence felt in ‘The Bay.’ The rookie cornerback flashed a propensity for turnovers during the preseason and has since gone on to become a key member of the 49ers defense, registering three tackles during their win over the Seattle Seahawks. Look for Womack to play an increased role for one of the top defenses in the league!
For the latest news and updates surrounding the 2023 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl be sure to follow @NFLPABowl
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2023 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl Week 3 Scouting Report – UCLA vs South Alabama
In the iconic Rose Bowl stadium on Saturday, another battle of unbeatens played out as the UCLA Bruins played host to Sun Belt opponent South Alabama Jaguars. In a wildly contested game that went back-and-forth in the second half, UCLA drove 61-yards to kick the game-winning field goal as time expired, giving the Bruins a 32-31 win.
There were numerous notable seniors on the field in this matchup, highlighted by the following:
Dorian Thompson-Robinson (the 5th -year senior and 5th -year starting quarterback for UCLA) put on a show for fans and NFL talent evaluators alike, completing 20-of-30 passes for 263 yards and three touchdowns through the air while also adding 27 yards on seven carries. Most importantly, DTR never turned the ball over while displaying mastery of Coach Chip Kelly’s offense and orchestrating four scoring drives in the 2nd half of the game, including the game-winning field goal drive late in the fourth quarter. On his third touchdown pass of the game, Thompson-Robinson showed great poise as he hung in the pocket working through his progression prior to throwing a dart to his receiver on a slant route for an eight-yard touchdown. With a conference road game up next, performances like Saturday’s are confidence-builders that bode well for undefeated UCLA.
Coming off an 1100-yard season, Bruins running back Zach Charbonnet is widely considered one of the top senior rushers in the country. Although former Michigan Wolverine standout’s numbers haven’t been as jaw-dropping as perhaps expected through three weeks (he did not play Week 1), Charbonnet’s talent and self-less demeanor routinely showed on Saturday, including converting a key 3rd-down on the game’s final drive to set up the game-winning field goal. For the day, Charbonnet finished with a very healthy 6.0 yards/rush average to lead UCLA with 78 yards on the ground and then finished second on the team in receiving yards with 51 – versatility that NFL scouts seek amongst the running back position.
For the Jaguars, few players are physically as impressive as wide receiver Jalen Wayne. Standing at 6-2, 205 pounds while possessing long arms (32.5”) and big hands (9 3/8”), the 6th-year senior presents imposing size that is difficult for opponents to matchup against. Coupled with his athleticism and consistent ball skills and it’s no wonder that Wayne is firmly on the NFL’s radar. Saturday against his only Power Five opponent for the season, the Spanish Fort, Alabama native showed great route running and adjustability while leading South Alabama with seven receptions for 76 yards. After catching 86 balls the past two seasons, Wayne is currently on pace through three games to record nearly as many this season alone while doubling his career touchdown reception mark.
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2023 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl Week 3 Scouting Report – Kansas State vs Tulane
NFLPA Bowl scouts were back in Manhattan, Kansas on Saturday to see a battle of unbeatens between the Kansas State Wildcats and the Tulane Green Wave. In a defensive struggle between two very well-coached teams, the Green Wave took the lead in the 4th quarter with a 4-yard touchdown pass and then played stout defense to secure a 17-10 road victory.
Several seniors stood out to evaluators, including:
K-State Linebacker Daniel Green is known for being an instinctive and highly productive run defender, but his 2nd Quarter interception showcased his ability to factor versus the pass while dropping into zone and reading the quarterback’s eyes prior to making a play on the ball. In back-to-back weeks now, Green has recorded an interception – the first two in his collegiate career – and returned this interception 49 yards to set up a go-ahead field goal to end the half. With Oklahoma next on the schedule, Green has another great opportunity to display his athleticism and versatility for NFL scouts.
It was a big weekend for Hall of Famer Kurt Warner as his young son, Elijah, started his first career game for the Temple Owls as a true freshman, and for the performance of his eldest son, Kade Warner, who scored the Wildcats’ lone touchdown of the day while hauling in four receptions for 46 yards. On his impressive 21-yard touchdown reception, Kade showed great concentration and toughness after faking a screen block and running down the right sideline prior to elevating up for the catch. The middle-field Safety made a good break to the ball and hammered Kade as it arrived, but the elder Warner son held onto the rock while coming down in bounds to make the impressive play.
For the Green Wave, WILL Linebacker Dorian Williams’ presence was felt all throughout the day as Tulane hindered a very potent K-State rushing attack. The 2.5-year starter – who led the American Athletic Conference in tackles in 2020 – tied for tops on the team with six total tackles on the day and added a pass breakup as well. Dorian displayed numerous times great ability to read/react to quickly dissect the play, and then the athleticism, speed, and length to make the play. Look for Williams to continue to impress as Tulane gets into conference play with quality competition on the schedule.
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NFLPA Collegiate Bowl Week 1: NFL Alumni Spotlight
We saw 65 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl alumni from the 10th annual game (2022) make NFL 53-man rosters (25), get signed to the practice squad (33), or placed on the injured reserve (seven) to kick off the 103rd NFL season. There were a handful of NFLPA Collegiate Bowl alumni who made an impact during week one. Below is our first installment of the ‘NFLPA Collegiate Bowl Alumni Spotlight.’ Be sure to check back each week for top performances!
One familiar face making a name for himself in a new place would be five-year veteran Marquez Valdes-Scantling, who is line for a big year, moving from Green Bay to the Kansas City Chiefs, as Patrick Mahomes new slot weapon. The speedy ‘MVS’ did not disappoint, snatching four passes for 44 yards in their week one matchup. Click here to view.
Entering his fourth season, Indianapolis Colts veteran wide receiver Ashton Dulin made his presence known amongst new quarterback Matt Ryan, collecting three catches for 46 receiving yards during their 20-20 tie with the Houston Texans. Dulin could have a larger role than anticipated in the Colts offense in ’22. Click here to view.
A four year veteran and second season as starter for the New York Jets, linebacker Quincy Williams recorded six tackles, including one sack in the Jets week one loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Williams set a career-high with 110 tackles a year ago and has emerged as one of the team leaders on defense. Click here to view.
Hard Knocks rising rookie star Malcolm Rodriguez is the Detroit Lions new man in the middle. After a stellar training camp, the sixth round pick was flying around the field during his debut, making six tackles in a valiant effort against the Philadelphia Eagles. His gritty play is the exact DNA that Lions head coach Dan Campbell seeks and you should expect to hear ‘Rodrigo’ have his name called often throughout the season. Click here to view.
Entering his third season as a starting cornerback for the Kansas City Chiefs, the lengthy L’Jarius Sneed picked up right where he left off, making several big plays during their win over the Arizona Cardinals, including one sack and a pass deflection, while finishing with eight tackles. The former fourth round pick could be in line for a Pro Bowl-caliber type year. Click here to view.
In total, 248 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl alumni were actively on 53-man rosters, practice squads, or injured reserve during opening kickoff. Be on the lookout for more standout performers throughout the season right here, as we bring you the ‘NFLPA Collegiate Bowl Alumni Spotlight!’ Click here to view the Opening Day roster.
*For more coverage of the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, including campus visits, behind the scenes videos and pictures from the scouting trails, plus potential future NFLPA Collegiate Bowl invitees follow us @NFLPABowl
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2023 NFLPA Collegiate Bowl Week 2 Scouting Report
Each week, the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl’s scouting department will provide insight into some of the top prospect performances from around the nation. Be sure to follow along here and @NFLPABowl on Twitter and Instagram to learn the names you’ll need to know for the 2023 NFL Draft!
In a matchup of two Power-5, non-conference opponents on Saturday, the #14 ranked
Wisconsin Badgers played host to the Washington State Cougars in a back-and-forth game that
saw all 31 points scored in the middle two quarters. On this beautiful fall day, both teams had
the bizarre misfortune of intercepting the opposing team only to fumble the ball right back to
the offense on the same play. While many expected Wisconsin to run wild over Wazzu, it was
the play of a former Badger running back turned Cougar that led to the 17-14 Washington State
upset, and he happens to be one of the seniors who stood out to NFLPA Bowl scouts.
As anyone who’s ever watched Wisconsin football knows, everything starts up front in the
trenches. This year’s Badger team fields two of the top interior senior prospects in Offensive
Guard Tyler Beach and Defensive Tackle Keeanu Benton. Standing over 6’5” and 315 pounds
with 33” arms, it’s no surprise that Tyler Beach has started games at both offensive tackle
positions each of the past three seasons. Now as a “Super Senior”, he’s moved to what NFL
scouts would consider his more natural position of LG where his size, toughs, and athleticism
allow him to execute a host of different blocks, including pulling out front to lead the way on
perimeter runs. Saturday against the Cougars, Beach, and company helped pave the way for 174
yards on the ground while limiting a potent pass rush to only one sack on 32 passing plays.
On the other side of the ball for Wisconsin, imposing DT Keeanu Benton may have recorded
officially only one tackle in the game, but his presence and ability to clog interior rushing lanes
made him much more productive than the box score may imply. At 6-4, 312 pounds and with
over an 82.5” wingspan, it’s easy to imagine why Benton is such a force against the run. But the
true-senior and team-leader displayed dominance versus Washington State linemen, numerous
times locking out opponents with his great length and strength prior to shedding their blocks
and forcing the running back to alter his path. The former state qualifier in wrestling helped
hold the Cougars to a mere 2.4 yard/rush average on the day.
For Washington State, senior running back Nakia Watson did his part in raining on his former
team’s parade. Watson, a redshirt-senior who spent his first three seasons at Wisconsin as a
backup, showcased his speed and versatility on Saturday, racing down the sideline for a 31-yard
touchdown on what appeared to be a routine short completion. With 64 combined yards
rushing and receiving and two touchdowns, Watson led all Cougar players in total yards and
touchdowns, helping his team pull off the upset while firmly establishing himself on NFL scouts’
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